USDA’s Acting Deputy Undersecretary for USDA Michael Scuse paid a visit to Durham yesterday to tour Eastern Carolina Organics, an organic food hub purchasing meat and produce from local producers and distributing product to retail and restaurant outlets along the eastern seaboard. Scuse spent a few minutes with Southern Farm Network discussing immigration reform legislation currently being debated by the Senate:
“There has definitely been progress made and unfortunately its taken a long time to get to where Congress is today with bi-partisan working on immigration reform. We are optimistic that we will get some sort of immigration reform passed through Congress in the near future. It impacts agriculture across the US. Immigration and the work force is a major issue for everyone. Hopefully this is the year that Congress gives us some meaningful reforms so that agricultural producers will have an adequate workforce and can supply consumers with the best food available.
All of the producers are concerned about the workforce and the availability of it here in the US and we need to work thought the many issues. Hopefully before the final passage we will have some legislation that everyone can agree with and it will actually work not just for the agricultural community and the immigrant workforce as well as all of the other businesses that need a workforce.
Congress is taking this very seriously. They are looking at inputs from all the sectors. There has been a lot of input from many organizations about what is needed and what is not needed in this reform. If you look at the work they have done on it, you can see that it has been a priority.
In closing, I have enjoyed my trip here to NC and look forward to a return trip.”
President Obama designated Michael Scuse as Acting Deputy Secretary of USDA in early May. In the past four years, Scuse has held top leadership positions in USDA's Farm & Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS) mission area.